Freeze Dried Friday:

Welcome to Freeze Dried Friday on SurvivalBlog! We’ve been making so many things in the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer that we want to share some of them with you. If you have something wonderful you’ve prepared in your freeze dryer that you would like to share with SurvivalBlog readers, take a photo of it and send it in along with a description. We might just feature you here!

Vacation is over

The Latimer household is back online after a wonderful vacation. We are still unpacking and cleaning out the camping equipment though. I’m happy to report that the freeze dried food offered us gourmet meals at a fraction of the price of standard commercial offerings. We didn’t even repack into Mylar bags this time, instead just choosing to take the Mason jars and store them in the trailer separated by a sheet of cardboard to keep them from bouncing against each other as we traveled. It was rather refreshing to not lose any food to spoilage or cooler sogginess.

Question From a Reader

Reader “Uncle Joe” wrote in about his new Harvest Right Freeze Dryer:


I’ve just finished re-reading your freeze drying exploits from earlier this year, as well as referencing your original article(s) on the topic. Several months ago, we invested in the Harvest Right unit, based on our need and your recommendation (among others).

We are encountering an issue with storage. It seems that regardless of what we do (ziplocs or mylar) we cannot seem to get the food stored quickly enough, or sealed completely enough, to eliminate the re-absorption of moisture. We have had a number of batches which go from crispy freeze-dried product to mushy, spongy packages in a matter of days. Is there something we can do to eliminate this? Or is this somehow an acceptable state for our stored food?

Soggy Food

Soggy food is certainly not acceptable. This is mainly an indication that either packaging is not fully sealing or the product is not ready to remove from the freeze drier at the end of the cycle. If this is happening within an hour of removing the food from the machine, I would tend to think the food was not ready. The machine gives you an opportunity to check the food before completely shutting down and you can run it for a couple of hours to finish it off if you find it isn’t quite there yet. Just follow the direction on the screen prompts. When you are checking the food, lift it from the tray and check the underside. Some foods (like sauces) may seal moisture so you may have to break the chunks up to check the inside.

Packaging for Storage

If the sogginess occurs over several hours or days, I would tend to focus on your packaging process. Freeze dried food is very hygroscopic and will readily absorb moisture from the air. On a humid day, you only have a few minutes to move it from the trays to your packing and seal it before it becomes noticeably more moist. Make sure you are fully sealing the packages as well if you use a Mylar bag sealer.

We use mason jars and it is often enough to simply place a clean lid on top of the jar while you fill the other jars to keep it from absorbing more moisture. If you need to hold the jar for any length of time before you vacuum seal it, just screw a ring onto the jar to keep moisture from migrating in. You will have to remove the ring to use the Tilla Food Saver lid sealer, but it’s easy to do.

I would stay away from Ziplocs though. Despite the manufacturer’s claim, the plastic does breath some and the zip lock is not always reliable. While convenient, it is probably the least reliable storage medium you can use.

o o o

If you would like to include pictures of your freeze dried products in your comments, just send them to us via email along with the name you posted the comment under and I’ll place the pictures for you. Alternatively, you can host them on your own server and use the html <img> tag to include them


  1. Not much this week since I’ve been fighting off a cold. I have brussel sprouts and broccoli in the FDer now.

    Most of my FDer contents are beef, chicken and pork processed in large pieces (meaning not cube size like the commercial packagers) and it would take dozens of large (1/2 gal jars) to store the meats. Thus I use mostly mylar bags for storage. The trick is to get the product into the bags and sealed very quickly. Be sure to inspect the bags for tiny holes before using.

    I get the bag(s) open, insert bay leaves and O2 absorber(s) first, insert the product, then quickly seal the ziplock. After all the product is packed, I get the heat sealer and put a 2nd seal over the zip seal. I know this may be over kill, but I have a lot of $$ tied up in the contents and I don’t want it wasted. Label each bag with contents and depending on your family, hydrating and cooking instructions.

    To store I put the mylar bags in clear plastic storage containers along with a small bag of silica gel crystals (to absorb and moisture in the container). The container is labeled and put away.

  2. I am curious, which region Uncle Joe lives in. Not any personal info (Ops Sec) but is it more humid there? I have a co-worker who brings in his meals from his Harvest right, and from time to time there is mold, but it is usually due to incomplete drying.

  3. Hello, in regards to checking your your food is completely dry, I started using an infrared thermometer. It’s easy to pull a tray out and spot check several areas on the try. If it’s cold, then there is still moisture and you need more a little more time in the freeze dryer. However, if the food is anywhere from 80 to 130 degrees then you know the food is completely freeze dried.

    I also vacuum seal my food in mason jars as soon as we pull it out. I haven’t had any problems with sogginess.

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